In the summer, we made s’mores. We were inventive- if there was no blazing campfire around, we’d use the flames from the stove. Another time, me and a friend made peanut butter s’more cookies late at night and ate them hot, while we sat outside in the warm night air.
While we were reminiscing about it the other day, I thought about s’mores. They’re summery- everything about them screams camping, bonfires and sticky, humid nights. But they’re also delicious and comforting and I knew I wanted to turn them into a seasonally appropriate dessert.
The idea for this tart came to me suddenly: a warmly spiced, salted butter graham cracker crust, a light-as-air chocolate mousse filling, and a toasty meringue topping. In my mind, it tasted wonderful, looked gorgeous, and made for a show-stopping dessert.
Of course, I attempted to make it while I was making babka, taking sourdough bread out of the oven and photographing a new post. Not the greatest idea I’ve ever had, and the results, given my frazzled state, were obviously sub-par. But I wasn’t about to give up! I tried it again on a different day, when my head was clear (lesson learned!), and it turned out just as I’d imagined it. This tart is my new go-to for a sophisticated take on a childhood classic. Nostalgic trip down memory lane: served!
Yield: 1 tart
Why I love this recipe: the crust is a play on a traditional graham cracker one, but with salted butter and warm, wintry spices that linger on the tongue. The filling is a smooth, velvety chocolate mousse made with melted chocolate and whipped butter, and a toasty meringue topping provides a smoky contrast that makes this dessert undeniably s’mores-like, but way better.
For the crust:
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 10 graham crackers, finely ground in a food processor
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- sprinkling of allspice
- sprinkling of ginger
For the chocolate mousse filling:
- 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the marshmallow meringue topping:
- 3 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make crust: put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter nine inch pie plate. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate.
- Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 40 minutes.
- In a stand mixer, whip butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. While still beating, drizzle in melted chocolate.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture for five minutes. Continually scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add vanilla and blend for a minute. Pour filling into the now cool crust and spread evenly. Allow the pie to chill for at least 6 hours.
- Make frosting: place egg whites, granulated sugar, salt and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk mixture for 3 minutes, until whites are warmed and sugar is dissolved.
- Remove bowl from top of saucepan, then, with an electric mixer, beat egg white mixture on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 to 7 minutes longer. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
- Frost and decorate: using a very large round piping tip, pipe large dollops of frosting over the chocolate mousse.
- Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the dollops so that they look like toasted marshmallows. Serve immediately.